Checking in on the… WCCPosted by nvr1983 on January 20th, 2009
Michael Chin is the RTC correspondent for the WCC.
Stronger Conference Next Year?
Most mock draft sites still have Patty Mills and Austin Daye leaving early for the NBA. They must be watching different games than I have because I don’t believe either player will leave early. While both possess talent and have great star potential neither player is close to a finished product. In fact, one could argue that each player has actually regressed this season.
For example, if one were to get past the Patty Mills highlight real, which is quite extensive, they would see a guard with below average shot selection. He will need another year to develop those things. In fact, I see Randy Bennett moving Mills to the two guard spot next year, like Stephen Curry last year, after point guard Mickey McConnell gets a full year of play under his belt.
While Austin Daye has better shot selection, his other skills have yet to develop. More importantly, he can’t rebound against bigger defenders or play defense in the post. I compare him a bit to Marvin Williams of the Atlanta Hawks when he came out early. Comparable skill set with Daye having a little more height. Williams in his first three years in the NBA struggled in all facets of the game even forcing the front office to question their decision to draft him #2 overall. If Daye exits early, he will face similar criticism. At 6-11 Daye will be required to play some power forward, even if he will primarily be used at the small forward position. Based on his current body, he isn’t ready for that. Could you imagine him going up against the likes of Carlos Boozer or Chris Bosh? It would over really early. If both make the right decision and stay for at least another season, I see two potential lottery picks.
Now some conference notes…
Freshman of the Year
It’s been a really strange year in the WCC for freshman. A lot of young guards have seen extensive action due to graduation and injuries. My early pick at this point is Portland point guard Jared Stohl. He has quietly added some offensive punch to the team. He is one the main reasons why Portland has surprised the league and is hanging in there with the likes of Saint Mary’s and Gonzaga.
What will happen at LMU
People thought it couldn’t get any worse for the Lions after starting 1-16. Then coach Bill Bayno, who they believed would turn the program around, resigned for health reasons. While I wish the best for Coach Bayno, I have to wonder where this program is headed. Just two years ago the Lions were talking about making the NCAA tournament and now their RPI is in the 300′s. They were supposed to get some help next year with the addition of Seton Hall transfer Larry Hughes and Oregon transfer Drew Viney, but now one has to wonder what their status is.
A New Champion?
The next two weeks will be very telling as Saint Mary’s faces San Diego, Gonzaga, and Portland in their next three conference games. By the way, all three are on the road. With return games coming in late February from all three teams, a sweep this week could virtually assure a conference championship taking the claim from Gonzaga for the first time in eight years.